Comments: Week of January 30, 2023


“Elon’s Birdcage,” January 16–29

Photo-Illustration: Photo-Illustration: New York Magazine; Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images

For New York’s latest cover story, Zoë Schiffer, Casey Newton, and Alex Heath chronicled the chaos at Twitter. Journalist Sam Sachdeva called it a “great deep dive into Elon Musk’s (swiftly crumbling) Twitter empire,” and Recode Media host Peter Kafka said, “Even if you have been obsessively following the shitshow (and since you are still here, good chance that’s the case) you will find new jaw-dropping stuff.” Chip Riggs added, “I’ve heard folks on podcasts discussing Musk’s Twitter takeover in dry, business terms, but none of that captures the human ­misery he’s created in the company (and on the app) like this story does.” Reporter­ Nick Statt wrote, “Damn every paragraph of this excellent feature … just gets ­bleaker and bleaker as you read. Enough time has passed now that what happened, and what continues to happen, at Twitter just feels like a tragedy.” On Twitter, journalist Aditi Agrawal said she realizes “the irony of posting this here but it’s a good read if, in one go, you want to know how the ­hubris of one man turned a major mode of communication into a dumpster fire.” Bea Caicoya wrote, “Musk has damaged the reputation of every CEO, all over the world, forever. After this stint, good luck convincing anyone of the genius of any allegedly brilliant leader. I’m surprised his fellow billionaires have balanced that risk and picked Schadenfreude over self-­preservation.” Scott Leadingham pointed out, “Saying Elon (or anyone) has a ‘Midas touch’ and meaning it as a compliment of their brilliance­ without realizing the ­allegory of what the curse of Midas’ greed actually means is, you know, completely on par with how the tech industry thinks of itself.”

Photo: Marcus McDonald


“Fort Walgreens”

James D. Walsh reported on the microeconomy buttressed by shoplifting and who’s really benefiting from it. Siddharth Mukund said the story is “a detailed account of U.S. shoplifting and how tech and bargain hungry consumers are fuelling it.” Portfolio manager Guillermo Roditi Dominguez wrote, “Among all the hysteria about shoplifting and organized theft and bail reform, this piece was a breath of fresh air. Well ­researched, covered from multiple angles, and free of copaganda.” The Wall Street Journal’s Allison Chopin said, “I’m still skeptical of the claims about large-scale shoplifting rings being on the rise, but this was eye-opening. Your ­salami might be stolen goods? There are coffee carts that exclusively brew stolen beans??? I am scandalized.” @station_zzz tweeted, “Excellent article on the ­labor of larceny. Connection between theft and drug addiction is obvious but surprising to me—another reason to ­legalize and provide­ direct treatment for drug ­addiction.” Podcaster Morgan Pomaika’i Lee also found it “amazing how much of this is linked to drug addiction.” Lexa Power called it a “very epic New York Magazine exposé,” adding that, “as a socialist,­ it saddens me too to see people being ­arrested for ­stealing diapers and cough medicine as EBT/WIC don’t cover these items.” ­Lynn Becker ­tweeted, “Even though it’s about NYC, I’m betting the dynamics described in James D. Walsh’s fascinating, comprehensive piece on shoplifting isn’t that different in ­Chicago.” @LillianJRand said the story “highlights why … more policing­ is not the ­answer to this ­problem.” And ­sociologist Jay Livingston­ joked, “This ­article on shoplifting brought back memories of ­Klockars’ 1974 ethno­graphy The Professional Fence. I looked for a used copy online but then wondered, what if it’s stolen?”


“James O’Keefe Gets Stung”

Andrew Rice investigated whether Ashley Biden’s diary might bring down the right-wing media organization Project Veritas. Ian Larkin said, “Really great writing—lays out a complex situation in a clear way, holds your attention with the narrative, and is really well ­researched. Great stuff.” The Daily Beast’s Will ­Sommer said, “This great look at the FBI’s investigation into ­Project Veritas features James O’Keefe allegedly curling up in the fetal position at a party, crying about his legal woes (O’Keefe denies it).” O’Keefe responded on Twitter: “The fact that this is all you’ve got on me is pathetic @­willsommer. What I’ve got is your ­retraction from last year framed on my wall.” Of the detail that O’Keefe had been arrested in his underwear, journalist Marcy Wheeler replied, “You had to see O’Keefe in his undies and you didn’t take video and sell it to ‘Page Six’?”

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Comments: Week of January 30, 2023